In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer, who has two great passions – the violin and chemistry. Denied the first by his father, he leaves for the Berlin of Einstein and Fritz Haber to study the latter. His studies are cut short when his father’s fortune evaporates, and he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreams; and it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrich’s fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, the real and imagined, Solo is a virtuoso work.
This summer has been a blessing. I have read such amazing books that are actually going to stay with me for life.
One such books is Solo. Initially when I started it I thought it would be another politically-forward book and through politics it’ll talk about life but I was so wrong.
Solo is divided into two parts. This man, Ulrich is almost ninety when he decides that he still has a lot to give to the world, that his legacy needs to be out there.
The first part of the book is talking about his own self, parents and the choices that he made that define him today. The voice is third person but it is definitive, clear and it beautifully paints characters even in the passing.
The second part, which follows the lives of three other people, is the part that absolutely touched my heart.
Solo is so well written that I had to literally flag every page and underline ever quote.
The beauty of Solo is that the lines that he uses are so specific to the context that you can’t use them in any other way.
I have read another one of Rana Dasgupta‘s books and I like that one too.
But there was something about Solo that I admire in very few books. I am definitely going to re read this again in a couple of months.
A beautiful mirage of music,politics, love, decisions, life and familial relationship. This is everything one needs to read about.
– Painting Stories.